Well, I suppose you heard about the webinar a few days ago that was hosted and produced by my good friends at the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding (CPYU.) Derek Melleby is their specialist researching and speaking on the College Transition Initiative (CTI) and he interviewed me mostly about summer reading ideas, tossing me softballs and giving me a chance to swing as hard as I wanted. I don’t know if I batted 1000, but a few really took off. Or course, it was easy. He asked, “Tell us about why you and Beth started Hearts & Minds” and “Tell us why reading is important in Christian discipleship.” He joked and prodded, trying to keep me moving, as he and I then together walked through a list of 10 categories, naming and describing over 50 books. In just over an hour.
Those that signed up saw the covers pop up (and a few photo-shopped pictures; like the one of me with the cast of “30 Rock”, in case you wondered — ha!) We zipped through titles and subtitles, quoted a couple of endorsing blurbs, sharing why I thought each book looks good and useful. We invited folks to pick a few from a couple different categories and enjoy good reading this summer.
It was tricky, though, as I knew that the main audience was their mostly evangelical followers of pastors, youth workers, and parents but that it also would include a number of folks we didn’t know, and a handful of publishing world types, authors and scholars. I knew some were pretty sophisticated, but also suspected some were newbies to intentional Christian reading. So I put together a pretty diverse list.
Wanna watch our book review infomercial? I never say “operators are standing by” but, well, we are. Everything I mentioned is on sale here at the shop for 20% off. Order in the next 24 minutes and we’ll send a month’s supply of… oh, never mind.
For those that want the publisher and price, the actual list is below the show. A link to our secure order form page at the Hearts & Minds website is just below that.
MEMOIRS & BIOGRAPHY
The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, A Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life Rod Dreher (Grand Central) $25.99 Have tissues handy; one of the great books of the year, as Dreher moves to a small town to be with his dying sister, and discovers a new pace of life and value-system among his new neighbors.
Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk Heather Kopp (Jericho Books) $19.99 Incredibly interesting, really, really well-written. A window into the life of addiction and recovery, and the search for grace. I could hardly put it down — very highly recommended.
To Stir a Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball Jeremy Affeldt (Beacon Hill) $21.99 Classic Christian sports biography with a twist. The guy leverages his fame and fortune on behalf of the oppressed, fighting sexual trafficking and working to end hunger.
7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness Eric Metaxas (Nelson) $24.95 We need men of nobility and courage and sacrifice. The skilled and enjoyable storyteller Metaxas nails it in this collection of biographies of truly great men. Very well done. (I hope you saw the hilarious, provocative discussion about this book between John Wilson of Books & Culture and his friend Eric Metaxas. Whewie! did the sparks fly!)
C.S. Lewis: A Life Alister McGrath (Tyndale) $24.99 Do we really need a new Lewis bio? Yes. Yes, we do. McGrath is a genius and brings some new information. A great first bio (except maybe Lewis’ own Surprised by Joy) and certainly a must for any true fans.
Free Fall to Fly: A Breath-taking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning Rebekah Lyon (Tyndale) $19.99 I admire Rebekah for her candor about her anxiety attacks and her struggle as a woman to discern her own call. A moving story of her move to New York with her husband Gabe and her young children and the lessons learned along the way.
Reordered Love Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness David Naugle (Eerdmans) $18.00 I’ve raved about this repeatedly, a wonderful, wonderfully rich study of the deepest disorders of our desires and how to love the right stuff in the right way. This invites us to profound change from the inside out.
Living into Focus: What Matters in an Age of Distraction Arthur Boers (Baker) $20.00 Hard to explain, but this is about practices — focal practices of daily embodiment — and how these clarifying habits help us experience God, day by day. Brilliant.
Noticing God Richard Peace (IVP) $15.00 How can we attend to the Spirit’s presence, God’s revelation, moment-by-moment, as we walk with Christ day by day. From experiencing God in nature to honoring mystical experiences, from hearing God’s voice in stillness, among friends, and of course in the Bible, this is a helpful, inspiring guide.
Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups Ruth Haley Barton (IVP) $20.00 Her previous, marvelous books are on the spiritual disciplines, learned even in solitude and silence. Here, she offers insights for leaders about communal practices of discernment. Turn your board or leadership team into a community guided by God, not just one that argues and votes and decides stuff.
Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives Dallas Willard (HarperOne) $15.99 The books of the late Dallas Willard have been game-changers for many, and each of the ones you see here are serious and important. This may be the best one with which to start; a classic. You should read a few of his, for sure.
Bad Religion: How We Have Become a Nation of Heretics Ross Douthat (Free Press) $16.00 No, not the punk band, although they are pretty cool, too. One of the most impressive books of the last year — agree or not, anyone serious about being a disciple should know about the shifts in worldview, theology, and ways we may have accommodated our assumptions and views and attitudes to the me-centered world around us. By the way, it isn’t every day (although it does happen more than it used to) that the Christian Century and Christianity Today agree on the importance of a book. This is one.
Renewing the Evangelical Mission edited Richard Lints (Eerdmans) $34.00 This is a collection of essays compiled to honor the massive, important work of David Wells. From Os Guinness to Miroslof Volf, from Michael Horton to Cornelius Plantinga, this is an incisive lament, following Well’s powerfully argued critique, of how evangelicals have sold out to the post-Christian culture, and what we must do to get back to first things.
How God Became King N.T. Wright (HarperOne) $25.99 My favorite book about Jesus this year, I think — with a good emphasis on the theme of the Kingdom. Everybody should read a book or two about Jesus every year, don’t you think? And everybody should read them some Tom Wrig
ht. Very nicely done.
Imitating God in Christ: Recapturing a Biblical Pattern Jason Hood (IVP Academic) $22.00 For an academic book this is truly inspiring; for a book to help us in our Christian growth it is meaty and substantive. What does it mean to imitate Christ? Who knew you could mine so much from a single phrase?
Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think Jonathan Martin (Tyndale) $15.99 This is easy to read, includes powerful illustrations and stories, and is all about being more human, not less, as we are conformed to Christ, the protoype human. Wow – surprisingly insightful, powerful, important. Get it!
CMYK: The Process of Life Together Justin McRoberts (Justin McRoberts) $24.95 for the full-color, illustrated edition// $9.99 for regular paperback I love, love, love this first time author and his self-produced collection of stories, letters, reflections, each part inspired by a real person and his or her struggles and joys and journeys. Each of the four sections — the letters are each of the colors of the printing process — has a CD to go with. The songs stand alone, as does the book, but it really is a music/book combo. The look of the full color designed one, by the way, is somewhat like the inside of Shane Claiborn’s famously artful Jesus for President. A stunning production, one of the most creative packages in years. You will be moved as you read it. Thanks Justin, for allowing us to carry it. It is a privilege and a joy.
Pastor: A Memoir Eugene Peterson (Eerdmans) $16.99 A slow, quiet memoir of the life of the famous, down-to-Earth Presbyterian pastor. Pastors, who those who care about pastors, will enjoy it, and, frankly, it is commendable as it has much to teach us about what really matters.
Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being Zack Eswine (Crossway) $19.99 This book is hard to explain. It is about being real. About being human, even as a spiritual leader. Jeramm Barrs says it is one of the best books on ministry he has read. Really, really interesting, whether you are a ministry leader or not.
Handbook for Battered Leaders Janis & Wesley Balda (IVP) $16.00 This couple has extensive experience in corporate world and church leadership and knows the research on hurting leaders. Draws on Corinthians, too.
Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving Bob Burns, Tasha Chapman & Donald Guthrie (IVP/Praxis) $17.00 If you are a ministry leader, get this book. If you are not, get it for your pastor. The stats are remarkable, the insights drawn, life-saving. Nothing like it in print. A must-read resource.
Spiritual Influence: The Hidden Power Behind Leadership Mel Lawrence (Zondervan) $19.99 I mentioned in the webinar that Beth and I met Mel this Spring (at the Blue Conference in Fairfax VA.) I was very, very impressed with him. I’ve read other books of his, and have enjoyed them. This is really good, about how to have a spiritual influence on others, so they might pursue their own callings, and share God’s goodness with others. Very useful — oddly, something every Christian leader does, but a skill/art we don’t actually think about much. This can help.
FOR YOUTH LEADERS
Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship Holly Catterton Allen & Christian Lawton Ross (IVP Academic) $22.00 Granted, it is thick and serious — a masterpiece to make you think in new ways about how we do church. Anybody in CE or family ministry — heck, anybody who goes to church — should ponder this stuff.
Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church Kenda Creasy Dean (Oxford University Press) $24.95 Two decades ago I pronounced (loudly and often) that her God-Bearing Life was truly seminal, the most important book in youth ministry in decades. Then she did some other important ones, including, recently, the amazingly interesting and important Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, which she co-authored with Andrew Root. But this, a research-driven, very important book around which there have been essential conversations. If you are in youth work and haven’t read this yet, you ought to do what you must to get on it. It’s that important.
You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church and Redefining Faith David Kinnamen (Baker) $17.99 The author is a good friend of Derek’s and both Derek and Walt Mueller are in the back, offering suggestions on how to maintain relationships with our 20-somethings. I love this book, hope you know it, and highly recommend that you buy a few for folks in your congregation. The DVD curriculum is very well made. Kudos.
Taking Theology to Youth Ministry, Unpacking Scriptures in Youth Ministry,Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry, and Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry Andrew Root (Zondervan/Youth Specialties) $12.99 each. These are small, handsome hardbacks, each a continuation of a fictional youth worker trying to figure it all out. What fun to be invited into her world, joining her journey of being a better youth pastor, knowing why she does what she does, and what the focus of ministry should be.
Christian Parenting Handbook Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller (Nelson) $16.99 50 heart-based strategies for all the stages of your child’s life. I’ve written about this before and think it is very helpful.
Road Trip to Redemption Brad Mathias (Tyndale Momentum) $14.99 An instructive memoir of a cross-country road trip as these parents try to reconnect with their teens, and build family memories along the way.
Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More Bruce Feiler (William Morrow) $25.99 One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this season, this mainstream author reports on the best research and what he learned from nationally-known leaders in various fields, as he applied those findings to his family. Funny, unexpected, clever, this is a hoot — and may be a perfect family book for those who don’t like family books.
Habits of a Child’s Heart: Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines Valerie Hess (NavPress) $14.99 This is unlike any other book, following the chapters of Richard Foster’s famous Celebration of Discipline. How ’bout that? Yes!
Space Between: A Parent’s Guide to Teenage Development Walt Mueller (Zondervan/Youth Specialties) $9.99 I swear I didn’t include this — among the dozens we might have listed — because Walt runs CPYU and was sitting right there. No, this is a handy, accessible guide to stuff parents really ought to know. Nice.
Walk with Me: An Allegory Annie Wald (River North/Moody) $15.99 We didn’t have time to list much on marriage renewal — email me if you want some other ideas — but this is so unique. It is essentially Pilgrim’s Progress for married couples. The author went to Cambridge. The forward is by Eugene Peterson. A small, handsome paperback. What’s not t
Popcultured: Thinking Christianly About Style, Media and Entertainment Steve Turner (IVP) $17.00 Steve Turner is one of the masters of this topic, a British rock critic and Christian thinker. He breaks some new ground here, too. Trust me — this is fantastic!
Of Games and God: A Christian Exploration of Video Games Kevin Schut (Baker) $16.99 Nothing like it in print; nothing even close. Excellent. If you know teens or young adults, work in campus ministry or high school settings, you know you should be thinking about this.
Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology Derek Schuurman (IVP Academic) $18.00 I wrote extensively and then raved about this at a previous BookNotes piece, and commended it again in the webinar as a wonderful example of how to think faithfully and critically through an intentionally Biblical lens, about something in which we are all awash. Excellent.
Digital Invasion: How Technology Is Shaping You and Your Relationships Archibald Hart and Sylvia Hart Frejd (Baker) $14.99 I am partial to the theoretical work done by Schuurman, but this looks at the important research, asks how to alleviate some of the negative side effects of over-stimulation from our virtual lifestyles, and makes excellent applications to youth ministry, parenting, and for any of us wanting to use our devices in healthy ways. The author is a respected Christian psychologist and the other, his daughter, is a thoughtful life coach.
I’m No Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model Kylie Bisutti (Tyndale) $19.99 Her story of being drawn into the fast-paced, glamorous world of high-fashion modeling, the severe pressure to be unhealthily skinny, the pervasive drugs and sensuality, is simply told and a good reminder of much that is wrong in popular culture.
Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature and the Arts Jerram Barrs (Crossway) $17.99 Tim Keller says this is the best book on a Christian view of the arts he’s ever seen. It is, indeed, very good. The last half is mostly about literature with insightful, interesting chapters on Harry Potter, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Tolkien and the like.
An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest Alan Fadling (IVP) $15.00 I am not joking when I say that you should read it now, when your schedule may be a bit less hectic. It is one of the most important books on the list! I should have discussed it more on the broadcasted webinar, but we were, ironically, rushed. How many of us struggled with busy-ness, or are oddly proud of it? This raises some weird stuff, you know, for us all. The best thing I’ve read on it, and I’m not even finished, as I’m slowly savoring it.
Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food Rachel Marie Stone (IVP) $16.00 There is a growing body of literature on faith and food, and this is the best all-around, helpful, solid, study we’ve yet seen. Please, please, consider this. A really helpful resource and a delightful read.
Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table (With Recipes) Shauna Niequist (Zondervan) $16.00 When I said on the air that some of these wonderful essays made me cry, I wasn’t being sentimental. This is moving, powerful, beautiful stuff, one of the best-written and fascinating and splendid books of the year. I am so glad for it and for the things she so honestly hares from her own life. And we haven’t even done any of the recipes. Beautiful!
More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity Jeff Shinabarger (Cook) $17.99 Derek and I both know Shinabarger from the CCO Jubilee conference and we agree that his role there this past year was nothing short of breath-taking — so many people were so deeply moved by his synopsis of his thesis here: we can be more generous, we can take the initiative to do more interesting stuff with our privilege, power, and resources, but we won’t quite have the inner resources to do that unless we are clear about God’s love for us. Christ is enough. This book rocks, and could be shared with nearly anyone. Introduction by Bob Goff, so you know it is fun.
Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community Wendell Berry (Counterpoint) $15.00 I went out on a limb and said this is the book to get first if you haven’t read any of Berry’s acclaimed essays. Any collection of his, really, would do, but this is the one I recommend most.
The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment Eric Jacobsen (Baker Academic) $22.99 I promised to the webinar listeners (as you will hear if you download and listen) that you will never see your town or city the same way again, after having read this. That is quite a claim. I guarantee that you’ll get your money’s worth with this, learning new things that you will greatly appreciate. God wants us to be attentive to the world around us, including what Jacobsen called in an earlier book, “the sidewalks of the Kingdom.” This is really, really interesting and would make a good on-the-ground study book, especially if you include some interactive field trips to look around, seeing anew, with greater understanding.?
Jayber Crow Wendell Berry (Counterpoint) $15.95 It is common to hear people say this is their all time favorite novel.
Hannah Coulter Wendell Berry (Counterpoint) $14.95 Hannah shows up in other stories of the Port Williams membership, and it is maybe my favorite.
Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale Ian Morgan Cron (Zondervan) $14.99 I am so glad this fantastic story is back in print. Cron is a great writer, and this novel feels like it really happened to him.
Frame 232 Wil Mara (Tyndale) $13.99 I wanted to put in something fantastic, fun, a bit wild, with a solid Christian message. Yep, this is about the Kennedy assassination, so if you know about the Babushka Lady, you are going to want to read this novel.
In the Absence of God (Xulon) Richard Cleary $24.95 Full-discloser: the author is a good friend, and I’m thanked in the book itself. Okay, that doesn’t mean I have to promote it, let alone when I’m only picking a very few fiction works for this webinar. But I felt strongly it really would be a cool beach book, a thoughtful summer read, as it is full of suspense and drama and real-world dialogue about important matters. Set on a modern college campus, among curious students and open-minded professors (and some, uh, who are not so open-minded or interested in the benefits of authentic inquiry through the liberal arts), they have long talks on the meaning of truth, the plausibility of ethics, and wonder if we have a sustainable reason for morality if there is no God. And then some ugly stuff starts happening, and the point of it all becomes very, very clear.
KEY CPYU RESOURCES
Youth Culture 101 Walt Mueller (Zondervan/Youth Specialties) $19.99 A standard, which every youth worker should have. Share it with your volunteers, parents and grandparents.
Engaging the Soul of Youth Ministry Walt Muller (IVP) $18.00 I’ll tell you what: this book is one of the most thought-out, important, stimulating books on youth ministry that I’ve ever seen. This put CPYU o
n the map, showing their intentionally-constructed foundation for ministry.
Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life + Learning Derek Melleby (Baker) $12.99 You know all about this, and my advocacy for it. Designed for high school students heading off to college, or first year students, wondering about the basic questions of who they are and what they’re doing in college. The best!
Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Student’s Guide Donald Optiz & Derek Melleby (Brazos) $13.99 Nothing like it in print. Am I self-centered to say that some of this came out of conversations with Derek right here in our shop? That he and Don both are doing work that we’ve promoted for decades? This is a must-have book for any serious Christian collegiate.
Desiring the Kingdom: Worship Worldview and Cultural Formation James K.A. Smith (Baker Academic) $22.99 You know that Derek, Walt and I all talk about worldview a lot. Jamie isn’t sure that’s the best idea, and he tells you why. Put on your seatbelt, get a fresh pot of coffee and dig in. I love this book — if you are a Hearts & Minds fan, I’m tellin’ ya, you should get a friend and read it together, wondering how it might alter your way of being in the world.
Imaging the Kingdom: How Worship Works James K.A. Smith (Baker Academic) $22.99 This is the second in the “cultural liturgies” series that brings theology, philosophy, critical cultural studies and a passion for the reign of God proclaimed in our churches into multi-layered conversation. Did I really say that these two books are among the most important books we’ve ever sold? Yes. I. did.
Besides the Bible: 100 Books That Have, Should, or Will Create a Christian Culture edited by Dan Gibson, Jordan Green and John Pattison (Biblica/IVP) $15.00 Here are 100 great book reviews of mostly great books. (A few were chosen because they were influential and therefore important to be reviewed, even if the authors don’t agree with or care for them.) There are surprises, too. I like these editors, a lot and the choose some fascinating titles. So if this hour’s-worth of suggestions didn’t fill you up, get this one book and I am sure you’ll find some important recommendations.
I even have a chapter in here, by the way — a short review of The Call: Finding and Fulfilling The Central Purpose in Life by Os Guinness (Nelson; $17.99) which, for the record, is one of my favorite books ever. I’m glad they wanted me to make a contribution, and glad they agreed that it could be that one. It, too, would make some very good summer reading.
ANY ITEM MENTIONED
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know
Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street Dallastown, PA 17313 717-246-3333